Thor: Love And Thunder Director Explains How He Convinced Natalie Portman To Return

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Until Taika Waititi got his hands on it, the Thor series was arguably the weakest of Marvel Studios’ standalone franchises. The first two installments may have done solid business at the box office, but neither is particularly well-regarded by either critics or fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thor: Ragnarok served as a total reinvention for both the character and the entire franchise though, turning the God of Thunder into one of the most entertaining superheroes in the entire MCU. Fans were rightly overjoyed then when it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con that Waititi would be returning to write and direct Thor: Love and Thunder, along with the surprising revelation that Natalie Portman would also be reprising her role as Jane Foster. Not only that, but the Academy Award-winning actress would be taking up the mantle of Thor, too.

After Thor: The Dark World, Portman hadn’t exactly been shy about her lack of interest in coming back to the MCU, and in a recent interview, Waititi revealed how he managed to convince the actress to rejoin a franchise that had never exactly given her a great deal to do besides act as a token love interest.

“I just said to her, ‘Are you interested in coming back to this thing, but doing something really different?’. Because another thing, no-one wants to keep repeating themselves and no-one wants to play the same characters all the time. And I think for her, just coming back reprising that character but in this whole fresh new way, is really what I think would interest anyone. Especially, in most of these films, if you’re not a superhero… do you really want to keep doing that? I mean, I wouldn’t. I would want to come back and change things up.”

It can’t be understated just how important the addition of Taika Waititi has been to the franchise. Not only did he convince Portman to return, but several members of the Ragnarok cast have been hugely vocal in their praise for the filmmaker and also expressed a willingness to return for Love and Thunder, including Idris Elba, who could previously barely contain his apathy about being part of the MCU.

Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t scheduled for release until November 2021, but already the fourth entry in the franchise is one of the most highly-anticipated titles in Marvel Studios’ rapidly-expanding slate of upcoming projects. Waititi isn’t exactly hanging around waiting for production to begin, either; he’ll next be seen starring as an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler in potential awards-baiting satire Jojo Rabbit, before moving straight on to co-write and direct documentary adaptation Next Goal Wins.

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